Heaven for healthy hedonists – hang glide, surf or hike by day, relax on the beach and party all night. Then, of course, there’s that carnival…
Recommended place to stay:
Hotel Copacabana Palace
Rio de Janeiro, Southeastern Region, Brazil|www.belmond.com|
Official star rating:
A-listers have been flying to Rio to stay at this glorious art nouveau pile overlooking Copacabana beach since 1933, when Fred and Ginger used it as a backdrop for their first film. This is Rio’s stylish grand dame hotel and the building oozes heritage – photos of guests from Orson Welles to Prince Charles adorn the ballroom gallery.
The best rooms are in the original art nouveau older building (not the ungainly modern annexe), with lovely sea views. These come in contemporary neutral tones with Juliet balconies, polished wood floors (with Persian carpets), marble bathrooms, and Belle Epoque French furniture. Suites are similar but with separate sitting rooms and the 100 metre-square penthouses come with butlers.
There are three uber-elegant restaurants, including Mee – the only pan-Asian restaurant in the city to win a Michelin star.
The hotel is right on the Avenida Atlantica urban highway and overlooks Copacabana beach. The neighbourhood is busy day and night, and a little tawdry after dark, but the municipal authorities are cleaning things up. Streets behind are mixed middle-class residential and commercial, with plenty of restaurants, bars and shops.
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